Sunday, December 15, 2013
Joy. Peace. Love.
That's our family motto for the coming year. Three simple words that symbolize so much for where the past years have fallen short. Not that we haven't had love and joy and peace (ok maybe not so much peace with a house of wild toddlers), we have had these things but they've been overshadowed by so much darkness.
2014 will be a year to go to the light.
Quite figuratively and literally...
My Dad made his journey to the light just 3 months ago and it still hasn't completely sunk in that he is not a mere phone call or state away. Maybe it never will? I still feel as if he is around me all of the time, I frequently look through his pictures and remember and laugh at good times. The holidays have made the hurt a bit more stingy... I think of each Christmas breakfast we spent together and the jolly smile he had on his face each year that we arrived. He was usually shuffling about in his slippers with his nice red silk shirt on throwing eggs on the griddle. "Merry Christmas Baby Cakes!" he'd always say as he ushered me to pour a glass of champagne or get a mimosa. I would typically come flying in the door late and irritated at the busy schedule we had the rest of the day visiting each household and he'd just squeeze me and smile and tell me to relax. My Dad always put on a huge breakfast since our routine had always been to start off our holiday extravaganza at his house in the morning.
This year there wont be a big breakfast with mimosas and Christmas music playing in the background. There wont be stockings filled with socks and chapstick... and other random essentials that we could always count on Dad to have waiting for us. No bubble lights on the tree to laugh at in all their cheesy glory. No card to open... he always picked a special card for each of us for Christmas.
There's nothing joyful about that reality. There is nothing joyful about recounting the last two years of watching and enduring so much suffering. 2014 will be a year to rediscover how to find joy again. To create joy in new experiences. Easier said than done, but we will do it.
It has been an immense struggle to find joy through the heartache and frustration these past few years. Times that my sorrow was palpable by anyone around. I would do my best to fake it and hope that my mind would somehow convince itself at some point... Very hard to see the rainbow when you're sitting in a downpour. I think I managed to do a pretty decent job of keeping it together, with the love and support of my husband picking up the slack when I couldn't physically stand through the nightmare. But this new year.... 2014.... I am SOOOO ready to find the joy in life again. I will find joy again. And not just in the big things but in ALL things. I can turn a page to a new life, a fresh start and take a deep breath at what awaits.
I am only thankful for death in one regard. Giving my Dad peace. Peace after a war-like battle. 2014 will be an even greater opportunity to know peace. Peace not only for my Dad but for ourselves, our new life, and the people still around us. After a battle not only with illness and cancer there have been larger emotional battles for all of us involved as we've been able to see who is really in it for the long haul. Who is truly there when the house of cards falls? Death will open your eyes to things you never could imagine... unfortunately it enlightened us to the fact that there were a lot of people we thought were there for us, that meant something to us, that were family, that completely abandoned us during one of the hardest experiences one will ever endure. This new year will bring peace in my mind with the way the cards have fallen, knowing that as the page is turned it will only go up from here. The fat has been trimmed and those who've stuck by are the only ones who deserve to join us for the future. I wish myself and my family peace in knowing this.
Through watching my Dad suffer until the end I have learned a lot about love. From all angles I have learned a lot. What it means to truly give love to someone else and pour everything you have into them, what it feels like to receive love and support from someone when you need it. The give and take UNCONDITIONALLY, no strings attached, pure care for another human being. 2014 will start with a completely new appreciation for love, genuine love that is not dependent on anything other than the fact that someone would sacrifice any and all of themselves to give to you if you needed it. So many relationships I've wasted concern with that didn't deserve my love... not this year. My love will be reserved for those that reciprocate. My Dad had my back no matter what, til the end, as I did his. Throughout this experience I've learned just how few people I have in my life that can give me the same, these people deserve to have ALL of me, my full attention, and in 2014 they will get it since many of the distractions, emotional "suckers", and fake friends and family have been eliminated from my life.
A new year means a new start. It's the close of one chapter, or in our case an entire book, and the beginning of another. I'm not really sure how you start to live after death but I can say that the process of surviving death will teach you a lot about life. I look forward to our new book. To a year of Joy. Peace. and Love.
I can hear my Dad in my ear any time I think of those 3 simple words.... and he offers me another 3 words in return as encouragement... "Enjoy The Ride"
So 2014 Dad, we will, we will enjoy the ride. We will miss you always but we will find a brand new life of Joy. Peace. and Love. because of you.